War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0356 OPERATIONS IN KY., TENN., N. ALA., AND S. W. VA. Chapter

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XVII.

The next morning at 4 o'clock our brigade marched to the left of our entrenchments. Just as we were approaching the extreme left of our entrenchments General Buckner ordered me to place my regiment in column of division under cover of the hill in the rear of Green's battery and to sustain it.

We remained here until about 10 a. m., when General Pillow ordered me to move my regiment to the right and to cross the entrenchments and attack a battery of the enemy, which was then firing at us, and seemed to be situated some 800 yards from our entrenchments. Just as we were marching across the entrenchments General Buckner and Colonel Brown came up, and, upon learning the order General Pillow had given, General Buckner ordered me to proceed to attack the battery, and ordered Colonel Palmer, with his regiment, to sustain me. I forwarded the regiment, crossed the entrenchments, threw out two companies as skirmishers, and moved the regiment forward in the direction the enemy's battery. The skirmishers very soon engaged those of the enemy, drove them back, killing some, taking 5 prisoners, and capturing some fine muskets.

We moved forward through woods with thick undergrowth; the bushes were covered with snow, which was melting slowly, and it was very difficult to move forward. We had advanced within 75 or 100 yards of the enemy, and he had opened fire upon us with his battery, when Colonel Brown rode up and ordered me to move my regiment to thick, and we could with great difficulty move forward. Our skirmishers fired upon the enemy and rallied upon the battalion. I immediately ordered the regiment to kneel and fire had to load and fire kneeling. The fire began. Colonel Palmer, on my left, immediately opened fire from his regiment. The firing was kept up rapidly. We were protected by cover of the timber and hill from the enemy's shot. Lieutenant Colonel W. P. Moore fell very early in the action, wounded in the right knee, and was carried from the field to the hospital. This left me with no field officer to aid me, Major Brownlow having been left sick at Russellville; Adjutant Jones being on duty party of the day, but was hot with the regiment in the engagement. I soon discovered many of the muskets failed to fire, the promoting being wet (the most of the regiment being armed with inferior flank-lock muskets). After a while the left wing of the regiment began to fall back slowly, and then the right wing in good order, and, being satisfied that many of the guns, in good order to do execution, must be wiped and dried, and knowing that the regiment, after falling back a short distance, would be entirely protected from the enemy's shot, I determined to let them fall back. After they fell back about 100 yards I halted the regiment and ordered the men to wipe and dry their guns. Upon inquiry as to why they fell back, the officers informed me they heard an order to fall back, and believed it came from proper authority.

After the guns were cleaned I threw out two companies of skirmishers, who proceeded as far as the Wynn's Ferry road, in which was placed the enemy's battery, when we attacked, and the skirmishers returned and reported that the enemy had retired beyond the road and could not be seen. After waiting some time and receiving no orders, Colonel Palmer and I, after consultation, determined to march our regiments back to the entrenchments where we had crossed and where my regiment had left their knapsacks.